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April 18, 2023 | Commercial Insurance,

How to avoid a Catastrophic Outcome

Every day we come into contact with a wide range of equipment which requires regular inspection and maintenance to ensure its ongoing safety and suitability for the job intended.

Failing to carry out both inspection and maintenance activities can lead to a catastrophic outcome for an organisation for a number of reasons:

  • risk of injury to employees and / or the public
  • risk of business interruption
  • risk of reputational damage
  • risk of prosecution and possible fines under statutory legislation

Periodic inspections of workplace plant and equipment form a vital part of an employer’s duty; ensuring the health, safety and welfare of their employees and workplace visitors. Inspections also ensure employer conformity to health and safety legislation and, ultimately, add value by helping the business to operate efficiently.

Many insurance companies offer inspection services as part of their Engineering Product suite of products. These inspection services can support a wide range of businesses of all sizes and industry types throughout Ireland with their compliance to applicable health and safety legislation. The insurance company provide impartial inspection services in the role of ‘Competent Person’ to assist with statutory inspections across a vast range of plant and equipment.

What is a ‘Competent Person’?

The 2005 Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act defines a ‘Competent Person’ “where, having regard to the task he or she is required to perform and taking account of the size or hazards (or both of them) of the undertaking or establishment in which he or she undertakes work, the person possesses sufficient training, experience and knowledge appropriate to the nature of the work to be undertaken”.

Regulatory compliance is required for the following classes of plant and equipment:

Equipment Category Applicable Legislation 
Boiler/Pressure  S.I. No. 445 of 2012: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) (Amendment) Regulations 2012
Lifting  S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007
Electrical/Mechanical S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Regulation 30): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007
Local Exhaust Ventilation Health  &  Safety Authority: Local Exhaust Ventilation (LEV) Guidance Document 
Power presses and associated machinery  S.I. No. 299 of 2007: Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007
Fixed Electrical Wiring S.I. No. 299 of 2007 (Part 3): Safety, Health and Welfare at Work (General Application) Regulations 2007

Identifying types of plant and the requirements for Inspection/examination can often be difficult. We have put together plant guides to assist in the identification of plant and equipment along with applicable legislation, frequency of inspection and industries where it might be used.

Pressure:

    • Pressure items can require inspection/examination under the Pressure Regulations or General Application Regulations, depending on the type of fluid and/or the Pressure x Volume (bar/litres) value of the vessel.

    • All plant items containing steam require examination under the Pressure Regulations regardless of pressure.

    • Examples include: Air Receivers, Autoclaves, Blowdown Vessels, Bulk Storage Vessel, Café Boilers, Calorifiers, Hot Water Boilers, Jacket Reactor Vessel, Pressurisation Units, Refrigeration Plant, Air Conditioning Plant, Steam Boilers, Steam Vessels.

Lifting:

    • Lifting items are covered under various sections of the General Application Regulations and subsequent legislation. The examination frequency for an item depends on the type/use of that item. Examination frequencies are divided into six or twelve month cycles.

    • Examinations of items used for lifting people are generally required every six months. Examinations for lifting accessories which could be subjected to excessive wear and any item which hangs from a lifting hook also carry on a six month examination frequency. All lifts (whether passenger or goods lifts) have an examination frequency of 6 months.

    • Other machines which are not lifting machines but have a lifting function (for example manual pallet trucks, excavators etc.) also require inspection under the General Application Regulations with a twelve month frequency.

    • Examples Include: Crane, Dock Levellers, Escalators, Excavators & Lifting Shovels, Forklift Trucks, Goods Lifts, Lifting Appliances, Lifting Machines, Lorry Mounted Cranes, Mobile Cranes, Motor Vehicle Lifting Tables, Pallet Trucks, Passenger Lifts, Separate Lifting Accessories, Window Cleaning Equipment.

    Electrical:

      • General electrical equipment requires examination/inspection under the General Application Regulation. The type of inspection/examination required and their frequency depends on the type and size of the plant. Portable Appliances may require specific testing.

      • Examples Include: Alternator, Control Panels, Engines, Motors Pumps & Compressors, Fixed Wiring, Gearboxes, Generators.

    Work Equipment:

      • The definition of “work equipment” under the General Application Regulations is: “Any machinery, appliance, apparatus, tool or installation for use at work.

        •  As you can see, the definition of “work equipment” is very broad. The key thing is to have the proper inspection carried out by the right people. Insurance inspectors we will advise you as to the best way to cover your responsibilities under the Regulations for these items.

          • Examples Include: Guard & Protective Devices, Guillotines, Injection Moulding Machines, Power Press, Press Breaks, Wood Working Machines, Fume Cupboard, Local Exhaust Ventilation System, Shot Blast Cabinets, Spray Booths.

        Protecting your business:

        Aside from ensuring that all plant and equipment is inspected regularly and in line with regulation, businesses can also take out insurance cover, such as machinery breakdown or machinery business interruption insurance. This can help cover the cost of repair or replacement of machinery in the event that it suffers a breakdown, or is otherwise damaged or lost.

        The business should also ensure that robust risk management procedures are in place. These include the wearing of appropriate protective clothing, such as safety glasses, hearing protection and safety shoes; having emergency stop controls where necessary; and using fixed guards. Additionally, all employees should receive the necessary information, training and supervision to perform their job safely.

        Inspection and maintenance are crucial activities for any business which requires workers to operate plant, machinery and equipment or, through usage of equipment where members of the public are exposed to a risk to their health and safety. Companies must ensure they employ competent individuals for the undertaking of such activity and that it is performed at appropriate intervals. Failure to do so could lead to equipment malfunctioning, resulting in business interruption, significant penalties and most seriously, injury and loss of life.

        Contact Campion Insurance today on 0818 300 301 to ensure you are covered.

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